Fruit Or No Fruit?

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I have a photograph of my grandfather dressed as Yasser Arafat. It was taken many years ago when he wintered in Florida at a trailer park for seniors. When I first saw the photo I thought he was dressed as Mother Theresa. He was standing in the middle of a group of elderly ladies dressed as harem girls but I missed the context completely. “Why was grandpa dressed as Mother Theresa?” I asked. “Things were wild in that park,” my dad said without raising his eyes from the newspaper. He turned the page and added, “They were always up to mischief in that place. It was crazy.”

My mother came over to look at the picture. “That’s not Mother Theresa, he’s Yasser Arafat,” she said, pointing out the picket sign grandpa was holding. It read, “Cheap Oil!” I’d wondered why Mother Theresa was holding a sign about oil but decided not to ask; there are some things in life that are best left unknown. Grandpa had a smirk on his face (isn’t that an interesting phrase! Like he had a bit of food on his lip, he was eating a smirk and left some traces on his face…). I recognize that smirk because it’s the same look I get on my face when I am up to no good – which is not often. I’m a very serious guy. Really.

“Was this Halloween? I asked. I like the idea of my grandparents trick-or-treating. “No, this must have been New Years,” my mother said. “Yeah, one year he was in a big diaper because they chose him as the New Year’s baby,” my dad said, licking his finger and turning the page. “Do you remember the time he was Carmen Miranda?” mom asked. “Good god!” my dad exclaimed, “He looked funny! Was that Carmen Miranda?” “I don’t know,” she replied, making a cup of tea, “He wore fruit, didn’t he?” My dad looked up from his paper, puzzled.

“No wonder I have an inner sociologist.” I thought, watching my mother slowly dip her tea bag trying to remember if grandpa had fruit on his head before she continued, “Maybe he was Mae West.”